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Buster's Club Foot

For many horse owners, a sound barefoot horse’s hoof should look a very particular way. When we chase this idea of the ‘perfect hoof’ in the sense of how it looks alone, it can actually cause further issues.

These feet belong to our own horse Buster, who is a 15 year old, 16’1hh Warmblood x Cob. We bought Buster home when he was 4 years old and had already been backed and broken with a hefty amount of experience under his belt. After we bought him, he was turned away to mature properly which is when we discovered he had injured his stifle at some point in his life.

As a result of his injury, Buster gets a sticky stifle and is very wonky at the back, something you can clearly see if you watch him walk from behind. It is because of this that Buster’s front right hoof is a club foot.

Although Buster’s club foot looks different to his front left hoof, he is sound and comfortable all whilst completely barefoot and living on track 24/7. It may not look like the perfect hoof, but it is the hoof he has grown, with more heel, to support his upper body after his injury.

As Buster will naturally choose to use his easier, non-injured side on track when turning or moving, ongoing and persistent straightness training and riding would probably help improve his club foot to a point. However, Buster isn’t consistently ridden so his hoof has simply grown to accommodate his upper body’s needs. This doesn’t mean he’s in pain, unsound or can’t be barefoot, but simply that he is properly supported whilst living on track without having someone hack away at his hoof to make it ‘look’ better.

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